Wednesday, May 3, 2017

From $19M Estate to NYC Thrift Store

I got back from NYC yesterday morning, a great little extended weekend trip that I needed very much. Sometimes we all need a break from reality, am I right? When I'm in NYC, which quite frankly isn't often enough, I like to take it all in. I walk nearly everywhere and pop into little shops that look interesting along the way. I also, of course, make lists of places I want to go, including thrift and consignment shops, and those swanky 5th avenue joints.

Friday was my thrifting day on the trip, and I think we popped our heads in to no less than 20 of Manhattan's finest, thanks to some expert guidance. When we walked into Housing Works in Chelsea, the very first thing I spotted, was this:

Does it look familiar to you? The very second that I saw this monstrous chaise I knew it! It was like seeing a celebrity, or a friend from high school that had aged along side you - but was still so familiar you had to run up and say hello.

I apparently felt the need to take pictures of it from every angle, as if I were some sort of paparazzi of interior design and furniture. You see, if you don't know this piece of furniture you're about to. And if you do know this piece of furniture, you know that it was like one degree of separation from one of favorite interior designers, Jeffrey Bilhuber.

Bilhuber has a luxury design firm in NYC with clients that dot the city. This chaise, which is down filled and uber plush, was designed by Jeffrey for a children's reading room, featured in his book Jeffrey Bilhuber: Defining Luxury:

Go ahead, scroll back up. It's the same piece! So I know what you're thinking. I was thinking the same thing. How did it end up at Housing Works thrift store? And for just $165?

Yes. $165! Go ahead, collect yourself. And before you ask, I didn't buy it. I didn't have a way to get it back to Buffalo, and I DO NOT have room for it. But back to my story. So how does a $16,000 piece of furniture used in a gorgeous room featured in a book get to a thrift store for $165?

Well ... the piece started life in Greenwich, Connecticut in the 17,000 square foot mansion of former music executive, Charles Goldstuck. The Goldstuck house was a huge part of the Defining Luxury book for Jeffrey. Some of the published photos of the Goldstuck home are Jeffrey's most shared on the internet. For example:

And then of course, there's the Children's reading room with the chaise:

The Goldstuck family bought the home in 2004, and renovated it with Jeffrey. The original structure was constructed sometime around 1911 and finished in 1918. While it was a lovely home, completely personalized by Bilhuber and the Goldstuck family, they apparently wanted to ditch the home for a place on the water in Greenwich. So they listed it for sale in 2011, for over $19 Million! But they couldn't seem to move the manse until until September of 2013, for $4.5 million less than the original ask. 

The Goldstuck family moved from the house, and purchased another Greenwich treasure, and moved all of the furniture with them, setting it up in the new place possibly under Jeffrey's guidance. 

The new house was/is gorgeous, and much smaller. The family downsized by over 10,000 square feet. What they kept with them is also unclear, because the real estate photos don't show the rooms furnished. 

At the new house (which is now for sale) the table Jeffrey had fitted with a custom tablecloth sports it's iron legs. Here's what it looked like when they lived in the other place: 

The dining room table was left in the photos, too. Here's what it looked like in the other house: 

And low and behold ... 

There's the GIANT chaise that the Goldstuck's donated to NYC Housing Works to end up in the hands of one very lucky buyer, shopping NYC thrift. 

Isn't that cool? 

So where's the rest of the furniture? And why are they selling this house? Well, the couple finally found a house on the water in Greenwich. 

I'm hoping they call up Jeffrey to help them decorate this one - it could be outstanding! To see more of the house as it was decorated by Jeffrey, take a look at his book Defining Luxury, here:


  1. This is fascinating. You really have an eye and a great memory to have recognized this chaise out of context.

  2. Holy cow - you are amazing! That's really IS fascinating :)

  3. What a great post! Great eye! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  4. i need that NY thrift store LIST you have pretty please..all 20..

  5. GREAT story!! Love Jeffrey Bilhuber's work.

  6. You and Joanie are cut from the same cloth..

    1. Yep Cindy we ARE!!!!! I LOVED this. wtf??? what's with all that furniture left in the house? too weird. I think that room looks like a little girl's sitting room. it would have cost a fortune to recover or slip it.

  7. I am STILL swooning............

  8. That was so fun! Wish I could go thrifting in NY with you.

  9. cool story! I cannot believe you didn't buy it ; )))